A Draw! 23-23! I didn’t see that one coming. Got to admit, I was late home so missed most the first half ... but this looks like the Classic Fitzy™ Game of Two Halves. Japan having the first 40, then having to defend more in the second stanza (stanza!) as the Canucks chased the win.
I don’t think a crowd in Napier has been that entertained since Flash the Seal passed away at Marineland .. but these players are no trick mammals, once again we got shown just how good this level is. I suppose Canada get bragging rights because they beat Tonga and therefore finish third behind New Zealand and France, thus gaining automatic qualification for RWC 2015, but they both would have loved a win. I guess the Kiwi and neutral fans are the winners as they don’t actually have to choose between two very skilled and popular teams.
Japan: Captain Kitigawa seems a gentle giant, I loved his earnest aftermatch interviews; Tanaka the tenacious little halfback; Horie the Hooker who never stopped pumping his legs in rucks, mauls and tackles; and Endo on the wing. Not to mention our two Kiwi reps, the superbly skilled James Arlisge and Ryan Nicholas. They’d get Super contracts those two.
Canada: Beards, grins & grit. Kleeberger gets a folk hero nod, as does that Energizer Bunny of a centre DTH van der Merwe ... who name on forms must make Customs officials think of party drugs.
Its a crying shame they are oot now, but at least they can both be sure they will be back at the World Cup in four years.
Sayonara, Brave Blossoms. Arigato. I actually quite fancy one of their jerseys.
Canada ... cheers, eh?